The nurse staffing bill aims to provide guidelines on the standard registered nurse to patient ratios. It was enacted in response to a report indicating that optimal patient care is directly related to the number of nurses presented in a hospital ward. This bill provides a remedy against the unsafe ratio of registered nurses to clients. Patient’s understanding and numbers should be put into considerations when allocating nurses. Guidelines for the use of unlicensed personnel in offering care are also providing for in this bill (GovTrack.us., 2021). Furthermore, it prohibits nurses’ averaging to equal the number of patients and reduces the number of the supporting staff following ratios in nurse staffing.
This is a federal bill number H.R. 2581 of the Congress. The bill’s title is ‘Nurse Staffing Standards for Hospital Patient Safety and Quality Care Act of 2019.’ It was introduced to the House of Representatives in August of 2019. It was read twice before being referred to the committee on finance for further consultations on the bill’s cost implications (GovTrack.us., 2021). The bill addresses the policymakers and nurse practitioners; it calls for amendments in the social security act to provide for safe nursing staffing. The progress of the bill is still in the committee stage.
The bill was sponsored by Senator Schawkowsky, who is a legislator in the House of Representatives. Ms. Schawkowsky also received the support of other senators during the introduction of the bill to the house (GovTrack.us., 2021). The bill is co-sponsored by the National Nurses United organization that agitates for the primary care providers’ improved staffing. Moreover, the bill offers recommendations for forming a committee in the hospital composed of mostly registered nurses who will be responsible for nursing staffing. It provides for the minimum number of reported nurses ratios to work in the hospitals’ various acute settings. The nurse managers and leaders are exempted from the nursing staff ratio calculations (Griffiths et al., 2020). The bill indicated the replacement of the registered nurse’s clinical judgment with any forms of technology in inpatient care, including video monitors.
This bill was selected as a topic of study due to the grave implications of the mismatch in the nurse staffing in the United States. The ratio of nurses to a patient in the United States is at its all-time low. This is due to the growing number of the aged in the population and cost-cutting initiatives by hospitals. Besides, the number of individuals seeking treatment following substances and opioids abuse has considerably increased (Griffiths et al., 2020). The rising number of retiring nurses further complicates these factors. The void left by the nurses leaving services in the rural areas is hard to be filled due to the low number of newer nurses interested in working in these locations.
Additionally, the low ratio of nurses to patients impairs holistic around-the-clock care by nurses. A study found out that many nurses felt that they did not have the adequate time required to offer individualized psychological and physical care to patients (Griffiths et al., 2020). Furthermore, these nurses thought that they did not have time to give health education to patients and their families due to an increased workload. Moreover, patient safety is greatly hindered due to a high incidence of nursing errors following a high patient-to-nurse ratio. Adequate nurses’ staffing is linked with reduced patient readmissions in hospitals, improved patient satisfaction, and prevents nurses’ burnout at work. These challenges in healthcare necessitated changes in laws to address the issue of nursing staffing.
GovTrack.us. (2021). H.R. 2581 — 116th Congress: Nurse staffing standards for hospital patient safety and quality care act of 2019. Web.
Griffiths, P., Saville, C., Ball, J., Jones, J., Pattison, N., Monks, T., & Safer Nursing Care Study Group (2020). Nursing workload, nurse staffing methodologies and tools: A systematic scoping review and discussion. International Journal of Nursing Studies. Web.